With This Snow, I’ve Seen Enough of Two-Faced Winter
by Audrey Y. Scharmen
Gosh, I love winter. Snow is falling. Designer snow. A marshmallow snow like that in the movie: A Wonderful Life. Perfect, happy-ending snow.
I gaze contentedly from my window at the creek that lies beyond. Graceful amethyst rivulets zigzag through floating islands of frosted ice. The usual accessories of the winter scene — assorted gulls and a pair of swans — drift lazily as if arranged by some benevolent entity with impeccable taste.
The door-side scarecrow on my porch wears an elegant mantel of white over her shabby dress. A colorful inaugural greeting is clasped tightly in her arms, and the face of the anointed one smiles frostily from its frame.
All is well. It is the weekend. I haven’t anyplace I need to be but here in my cozy house. I will do homemade. I start the cookie dough and set the marrow bones to simmer for soup. I go out to feed the colorful birds nuzzling the panes from a window-side perch, beady little eyes gazing expectantly at me. They are eager for the gourmet seed I serve on special occasions. They are dear pampered creatures.
On the phone, I swap weather conditions with a friend who lives a few hours northeast. No need to check the weather channel and endure negative reports by perky blondes in designer ballcaps standing out in parking lots and on turnpikes. Whatever is happening in my friend’s part of Pennsylvania will soon come down this way. It’s as simple as that. Weather really is so predictable.
She and I exchange extravagant adjectives about the snow, which is softly falling now in a carefully orchestrated manner. She reports that a flock of robins just vacated her yard an hour before. I exclaim that they are already here! Right in my backyard! And isn’t that some sort of record for bird flight for heavens sake? She agrees and we hang up.
Returning to my window view, I find that the snowflakes have metamorphosed into steely pellets of sleet. The fluff has flown, and I hear the ominous pinging of a dreaded wintry mix against the window panes. The birds have fled with my euphoria.
Reality is cold and calculating. Within minutes, winter’s visage has turned gray and hateful.
I dial Pennsylvania for another report. My friend says the branches are bent with ice outside her window. At that moment, the phone goes dead. Our aged furnace makes an audible lurch and a grunt, like someone being kicked in the stomach, as it rattles to a stop. Silence descends. Darkness and cold settle into every corner where lingers the scent of half-baked cookies. Out in the creek, the swans are stuck on little islands racing Bayward through the amethyst maze. The gulls are gone.
My cell phone rings. It is Pennsylvania calling. A grim voice says: Gawd I hate winter. I agree.
Scharmen, of Lusby, won first prizes two years running in the Maryland, Delaware, D.C. Press Association competition for her reflections in Bay Weekly, where she has written in each of our 13 years.